Examining the importance of Aberdeenshire(UK) coastal waters for North Sea bottlenose dolphins

K. A. Stockin, C. R. Weir, Graham John Pierce

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Using land- and vessel-based surveys, data on the relative abundance, distribution and habitat use of bottlenose dolphins (Tursiops truncatus) in Aberdeenshire waters were collected between 1999 and 2001. Bottlenose dolphins were present throughout the year, with peak abundance during the months of March to May. The occurrence of calves was seasonal, With the proportion of calves highest during the spring months. Foraging behaviour was recorded mainly in the vicinity of Aberdeen harbour. Dolphins photographed in Aberdeenshire waters were successfully matched and confirmed as Moray Firth animals. The results of the present study suggest that Moray Firth bottlenose dolphins utilize Aberdeenshire waters more frequently than previously reported. Aberdeen harbour is apparently an important feeding area, and Aberdeenshire waters are regularly used by another-calf pairs. This has important management implications since this area of coastline does not currently form part of the designated Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for this population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-207
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2006


  • harbor porpoise
  • cetaceans
  • Scotland
  • population
  • recapture
  • patterns
  • habitat
  • size


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